tv Book Discussion on End of Days CSPAN December 29, 2013 7:45pm-9:06pm EST
around because we have to be a national party game. that's only good for republicans but good for the two-party system in the country. thank you so much. i appreciate it. thank you, guys. [applause] >> we will do a book signing and if you can do it as orderly as possible. [inaudible conversations] now, this is official. good evening, ladies and gentlemen, my name is president obama. i'm the director of ford's theater society. on behalf of the board of trustees and everyone at ford's
theater. i want to welcome you to the special event. a talk with james l. swanson. "end of dais: assassination of john f kennedy." sam donlson has won numerous awards for excellence in journalism including broadcaster of the year from the national press federation and best white house correspondent. sam is a 42-year abc news cell phone, who served two appointment of chief white house correspondent for abc news covering presidents carter, reagan, and clinton. he coanchored prime time live. and abc news sunday morning broadcast this week with sam donlson. he continues to work on many freelance projects. we are thrilled to have him back for the discussion.
james swanson is the ed -- the 12-day chase for lincoln's killer. in 2006 they named it one the best books of the year. and claimed crime writer patricia corner blank blag his other books include acclaimed lincoln's assassination, trial and ebbing cushion, and bloody crimes that chased if jefferson davis. james swanson's current book in the topic for the evening is tighted "end of days: assassination of john f kennedy ." which was released today. we are fortune to have both james and sam on ford theater's
advisory council. and my pleasure to introduce two such distinguished talents. please join me in welcoming them. [applause] [applause] james, it's good to see you. >> good to see you, sam. >> for several generation of americans, people here, i'm certain, including me, that assassination of president kennedy was the shoughs shocking, horrifying, grief striken day in the public event in my life. and you have now written the book about that day and the days surrounding it. james, there are i don't know how many books about the assassination of the president. why did you decide to write this book? >> well, sam, it's the book i always wanted to read that no
one else had written. that's why i written the manhunt book of the lincoln assassination. i wanted to write a thrilling, accurate, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour. i think it's the saddest most incredible story in american history. it's the great american strag tragedy. i wanted to write a book that would take us back and experience it for the first time. and the younger generations who didn't know the story whose minds have been polluted by the crazy conspiracy theories by movies that don't tell the truth. i wanted to write a book for the new generations to tell them really what happened that day. >> you have done it. before we get to the event of that day. let set the stage. president kennedy's first two years were not that terrific. the bay of bigs, he met
khrushchev. and then, of course, the berlin wall which stemmed from that. then khrushchev thought he could put missiles in cuba. after kennedy successfully negotiated the cuban missile crisis. things turned for him. i'm intrigued by the fact you say in the fall of 1963, his marriage was better than ever. he and jackie seemed to be more in love; right? >> i think so. the secrets have all come out now. none of the american people knew in the '60s. kennedy, the women, we know all of their names from audrey hepburn to the 19-year-old intern. jackie knew about it. she knew before she married him. she accepted it. there are rumors they came close to divorce once early in the marriage but stayed together. i think one thing that brought them together in the summer of and fall of 19 23eu6 was the
death of their newborn son patrick who lived less than two days. jackie and the president were devastated. something about that loss she had already given birth to a still bosch -- born daughter before the boy died. something about the loss did something to them. it brought them closer. she agreed to campaign for the election of 1964. dallas was just the beginning. she told him i'll go anywhere with you. and other evidence suggests that there viewing the marriage and each other in a different closer way. they were having a great time on the trip to texas. >> she agreed to go texas because the factions of lyndon johnson and the liberal senator were at each other's throats and jack kennedy needed texas again. so they went to texas. they went to houston, they went -- ended up in fort worth, the night before on the 21st of november. and on the 22nd of november, as they were talking in the bedroom, he said something that
i found eerie. >> yes. well, the night before they arrived in fort forth, they had come from houston. now they are in the hotel room in the morning. and the president looks at a newspaper. the dallas paper. he's reading it before he flies there. there's a full-page ad welcoming him to texas. they thought they're welcoming me. they were having a good trip so far. the 21st went great. then he read the ad. and it was a 12-list of being a communist, socialist, causing death of american soldiers in vietnam. and he said, will you look at this? we're flying to nut country today. then he said, you know, last night when we got here, would been a hell of a night to assassinate the president. it was dark, the crowds were pressing in. we didn't have enough protection. it was raining. a man could have a pistol and briefcase and shot me and ran
away to the night and escaped. then he paused, and said another thing. nothing could stop a man with a rifle and a tal building from shooting me. nothing could stop it. why worry. a few hours later that's what happened. he was a fatalist. he believed he would probably not live a long life. he used to tell friends live every day like it was the last. he was almost killed in world war ii. he almost died from surgeries and disease. his favorite poem of bay harvard graduate killed in the first world war i. i have a rand view of death. at night he would ask jackie to read the poem a loud. it's an interesting man for the 30s and 40s. >> he had the rand view. there was a man who could shoot him and did. who was the man? who was lee harvey oswald? >> he was a 24-year-old man.
lifelong loser. high school dropout with delusions of grandeur. minimum wage jobs he could never keep. joined the u marines at age 17. his brother had been a marine. served about three years. didn't do well in the marines. court march twice. one for accidentally shooting himself with a der gear pistol. one for fighting a superior rank. stationed in japan. the only thing oswald learned how do well in the marine corps. was how to shoot a rifle. he was trained to shoot it without a scope. he got the middle grade markmanship. he cheated his way out of the marine corps. that his mother needed him. dependency danger. then all a sudden one day he showed up in moscow and said he wanted to renounce his citizenship. the russians thought he was nuts. he claimed to have secrets.
he didn't have anything they didn't know. they cube lost interest in him. they recognized him for what he was. a fool. so they shipped him off and made him work in a radio factory. he married a russian woman and had a baby. he hated life in the soviet union. when he experienced it as it was he couldn't wait to get out. he moved the family back to america in 1962. >> he ended up in dallas. he bought a rifle mail order. but his first target was not john kennedy. >> no. it was edmund walker. he missed. >> this was one of the things that i find that few people remember or know about. seven months before oswald assassinated president kennedy, in april 1963, he tried to murder general walker in dallas.
he was known as a white wing per. called harry fryman pink. walker hated kennedy. the innovation of cuba. so he had been planning the a?aitionz of walker even before he ordered rifle. he talk stalk the house. drew maps. took photograph. one night he found walker in the window, he was working on the federal income tax. [laughter] and -- for a man who oppose the strong government authority. he would have been humiliated to be killed doing his income tax. he had seen combat in the world war ii. he was a tough officer. he would have been furious to know that a disgruntled ex-marine assassinated him in his own home. he took careful. he was 40 hours a away. he had a four-power scope. he fired.
the cross hairs right on walker's head. in the darkness, oswald didn't notice there was a window frame dividing the window. the bullet struck that, deflected and missed walker's head by one inch. oswald ran away. he was lucky he did. walker wasn't going take it. he got the pistol and went outside to look. oswald ran away and escaped on a city bus. >>let do as we talk as we come out the event. let do some of the what ifs. i'm glad general walker was not hit. but what if os waltd had been he would be jailed. at minimum it might have sated his taste for blood. he told his wife to take pictures of him dressed in a -- >> we have seen the picture. he's posing with the rifle and she said are you crazy? why are you dress the like this? he said, i want to show that i'm
ready for anything. so maybe if you killed walker that would have satisfied his blood lust. or if his wife knew about it after the fact told the police or the police would have found him. he would have been arrested and jailed. one way or another if he was succeeded in killing walker or arrested i think kennedy would have survived his trip. that jfk was coming to dallas and going to drive past. he got the job to a friend of a woman he knew.
and fate brought him to the moment. >> when did you think from all the available evidence we don't have oswald's testimony, obviously, that he decided to take advantage of what he had learned in the newspaper that the president of the united states was coming and the parade was right by his place of employment? ..
he once told his wife i'm going to be prime minister in 20 years and she said you were a full it takes an education to do that and so i think that all small is in despair and he thinks this is it. this is the sign i've been waiting for the triet i don't think he killed john kennedy out of loafing or hatred. >> almost strangled her to death one night. she refused -- she agreed to make dinner but she wasn't americans and she didn't know
the southern dish and she made a mistake of mixing the rice and beans together not serving them separately and pouring them on top of the rice. oslo said this isn't right make it again and she said what difference does it make you're going to mix them any way. he said he will make it again. she poured it in the trash, they fought, he strangled her screaming i won't let you out of this alive. >> she later tried to commit suicide. he would slapper, punched her, the classic excuse was all sold, it was your fault you shouldn't have made me so mad. >> talk about anger management. it's the 22nd of november. the kennedys leave dallas or leave fort worth and fly 26,000 the president smiling and all of this. and it's not going to ride with a bubble top.
he wants to be seen by texans. >> he didn't even like it when they would stand on the top of the car there were two footsteps and huge handles they could stand behind the president but he didn't believe in the presidency or in the distancing himself. the chain-link fence some of them had confederate flags today there were some kennedy opponents. maybe you shouldn't go to dallas. but john kennedy said any member who is afraid to visit an american city doesn't teaser to be president of the united states. >> it went through downtown dallas and there were large crowds everywhere in a prominent cheering and stopped a couple of
times and at one point he was driving the governor of texas and john connally and the governor's wife. she said mr. president, you can't say they don't love you in dallas today. down the street they are going to make the turn. tell us about oz called. where was he and how did he get there in that moment? >> he brought in the rifle to work that morning and told the man that drove him turn it around where i'm staying. the house already had drapes and curtains and as an aside the searched the entire building after the assassination and no curtain rods were ever found. so she hides the rifle and most of the workers were coming down for lunch to watch the president in the book depository. he doesn't have a radio and he
knows when the president is about to arrive and knows when the president comes to houston street people of what we are going to start leaving said that is his signal jfk is coming close. he drove right towards him. >> everyone is looking at the book depository and there was the windshield with a car and a metal bar over the car to which the roof can be attached and then there's governor connally. he had to make sure he missed the windshield and after the first shot everyone would see him. right behind gft there was a secret service. the minute he took the first shot so he waits. the car turns in front of all small and now his back is facing
him. this is when he decides he's grandam shoot because it is only ten to 15 miles per hour driving a straight line away from him and the optical illusion is the car isn't even moving it is just getting smaller. and so that is when he looks through that rifle scope and jfk appears to only be 40 feet away from the scope and that is when he fires the first shot. >> that he is seen. >> yes. ten people solve their will pointing out the window. a couple people saw him right below the window, three of his co-workers were looking out the fifth floor windows and a 15-year-old schoolboy. they are protecting the president.
as they are pointing the rifle out they are looking at the peril and squeezes the trigger. >> one of those people come fault where after the fact. that is another one of those what ifs. there's a man in the window with the rifle and the police officer might have been able to jump into houston street and stopped the motorcade before it even got to the corner and before it made the turn. that is how early some people saw their all before it even turned on elm street. >> he makes the turn into elm street and headed towards the freeway and austal as you say begins his deed. take us through the sequence. >> he misses the car entirely.
it doesn't hit jfk or anyone. he overshoots the car. probably because the first bullet deflected off of an oak tree branch or possibly the street lamp over hayne. >> it's so close he shouldn't have missed. he was too good a shot to miss at that range and i don't think it was the excitement of shooting highlight in the civil war it always goes high with the enemy troops. i don't think he was dead on the public got deflected. a couple hundred feet across the way the blood starts to curve and kissed his cheek. he was more than three seconds and the men below him here that and the cartridge will drop on the wooden floor and he takes the second shot. they think the second shot is a firecracker. nobody is that alarmed yet.
the second shot strikes the president coming either call it velo or the upper deck. it comes near the spine and to try to use his arms up like this. it's the new reaction driven up in voluntarily and he can't move them down. that bullet then passes through him and it does strike the governor of texas. it isn't pristine or magical. its damaged and flattened by the impact mostly striking but not a lot of bone. at that point he says they are going to kill us all. a photograph is taken from the front of his car at that moment and it shows jackie lifting her hand and all the secret service agents right behind him the fall turned around and they are looking up at the book. >> one of them was assigned to protect the first lady and there was another that was specifically designed.
he jumps off the board and sprint's towards the limousine. >> and in the same car david powers turned to each other and one says i think the boss has just been shot. a lot of the journalists in the course of that is rifle fire. somebody shooting. another said i think they just hit him. so he is the only one running towards the car and all small is zeroing in. they wasted about five seconds -- >> he had only gotten there. >> of maldon is zeroing in and clinton is running to get to the cart before another shot can be fired. as he approaches, all small fires the third shot and they
describe the sound as a melon being smashed on the sidewalk. the head explodes, and jackie cries out, they get back and move and the car speeds away. >> at this moment let's talk about i don't know how many countless times in that third shot you see the right arm explode and people say it's the first shot. it wasn't, but why shouldn't we have realized it wasn't klaxon >> americans have left conspiracy theories for 200 years in times of trouble. it's a natural impulse. they are exciting and alluring and it appeals to the sense of drama. most of the witnesses heard three shots. the three men below heard three shots and it moved four times because it reloaded.
he could have shot after three. they heard of the cartridge cases. there is simply no evidence. people talk about smoke. that is modern rifles they don't create puffs of smoke. if you look carefully you will see because of the reaction it gives the appearance but then you see it moved. no one saw any one of the grassy rifle. he saw no riflemen. there were 50 pieces of evidence that say there was no other gunman. dozens of pieces of evidence pointed at all small and it is the book in itself which i do not right. i address it at the end but
there were three shots and was also called for. >> he's seated for the secret service and he has someone who is on his right. they hear a shot and what happens? >> the car does not accelerate or swerved which allows austal -- it's never been understood or explained. some people claim they were part of a conspiracy. those agents love to jfk. you know that. they would have never participated inconceivable but still we don't know why there wasn't a reaction. the driver turned around to see what's happening in the back of the car and the second shot is fired. nothing happens. still, they don't get the gas or
swerve? >> it's another one of those that you described. >> okay. they rushed to parkland hospital does it matter? >> clint hill knew it didn't matter as soon as he got there he went like this now. some of the agents cried out and others were going to shake the president's car and they said no stay with johnson. don't go. the car was so close the car behind the president was closer than we are to the people in the front row. so it graces after the presidential car 80 miles per hour and jackie is overwhelmed by the tragedy and says my god i've got his blood and brains
all over my hands. so they arrived six or seven minutes later. >> you might at first she wouldn't let him go. >> no, she knew he was dead. he said he could tell. so they get out of the car, they want to rush the president inside, and jackie is holding him in her lap and leaning over. we've got to take him in for treatment and she set leave me alone. they said we have to take him in me and she said he is dead. leave him alone. >> what about the press? the miami press international committee -- >> a great journalist. and you have been in of reporters car.
he came running up. he came running up a limousine and asked, didn't he the? he said he is dead. the journalists stood over the car. >> in that particular bulletin of the road shots were fired at the president. he appears to be hit perhaps seriously were fatally. that is as close as he came without official confirmation they knew they were very close.
then they took him inside. >> it was an effort to try to save them or do something and she was there. i don't think they would have tried to save them. she wanted to go to the emergency room and they tried to block the way they said i want to be with him when he dies. and the admiral came and said you were going to let him and and so they did. >> meanwhile, where is lyndon johnson. sketch he is in his car and they rushed to the parkland hospital he tells them we are going to
break off from of devotee else and teach you to a secure location and do what i say. no one knows what's happened. who they are whisked away and they are secured in the room some distance where the president is and jackie is. lbj really learns that what's happened when an aide comes in and says mr. president, he knows kennedy is dead now and then they whisked him away to air force one. >> he asked if the official confirmation be withheld so that he could get to the plame not knowing that there was a conspiracy, right cracks was a foreign power or conspiracy that the president in south vietnam had just been assassinated in the conspiracy there were many
known european assassinations and no one knew what was happening so it was thought for the new president's safety he would be rushed away to air force one and be protected and tell things went out. >> let's go to the scene of the crime he doesn't take the fourth more does he do? >> he runs 90 feet and diagonally with the rifle and horizontally he moves down the stairs as fast as he can and as he is getting to the second floor he hears footsteps coming out. also called quickly thinking he runs to the lunchroom that he's put money in the shay assad soda machine and it looks like he is just a worker and he has his gun out and he says who is this and
he says he works here. that doesn't mean he doesn't shoot the president. he says let's go so they keep going at the building. os bald then walks to the second floor office and there is a woman that has been outside. she sees the shooting and comes back into the desk and at that moment a door opens and she says it is terrible. the president has been shot. but maybe they didn't get him. he mumbled something and walks down and walks up the front door within three minutes of the shooting he's walking past the front door. >> you write this and i didn't know a colleague of mine in the business robert mcneil -- >> he later told the police when he was being interrogated the that i was stopped by the secret service agent and was actually robert mcneil who wanted to know where the telephone was in the book depository so they could make the call. so all is what gives them
directions and he walks up and just struggles of the street and this is where it becomes really insane just as he tried to escape the general assassination attempt on the bus, all small who doesn't even have a driver's license, he has $15 in his pocket keyboards a city bus to the escape the assassination of the president. >> that's the thing in the case of james earl ray assassinating martin luther king jr. there was some sort of a plan. a lot of people believe there were some people helping him and putting the kennedy in 1975. >> he got all the way to england. >> but in this case he didn't even have an ec plan. i wondered was it a suicide mission and away because that morning not only did he take the rifle to work that he removed
his wedding ring and placed it in a cup on the dresser in the cup that his wife had brought all the way from russia she then took hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash he had in the world and left on top of the dresser and it almost looked like a man of shedding things. but he wanted to escapes. >> he doesn't have a rifle and the obtained another weapon. >> he called a taxi cab to take him near but not the exact address. he changes his jackets and retrieves his revolver loaded with extra shells in the pockets and then he starts walking. we don't know what his plan is. he had enough money to cover the bus ticket to mexico so he is
walking through the residential area and then he hears another chance a police car pulls up with one man inside. the news is already broadcast a brief description of all small man under 30, medium build, etc. but nonetheless all small this walking quickly down the street in a residential neighborhood. the policemen calls over to all small and he leans in on the passenger side window and talks to the policemen. something of what did -- calls walt did meet him get out of the car. he starts walking around the front of the car and os bald reaches into the pocket, shoots the policemen three times. there are witnesses who see this. he shoots him three times. he was having lunch with his wife at the home half hour ago
and then this is the cruel tawes walt mentioned, he walks right up to the dying policemen come ames the pistol at his head and shoot him right through the heady and as he walks away he turned and said poor cop and then he continued his flight. >> but not very far. he goes to the movies. what was playing? >> i'm from chicago and look what happened. the lady in red. and so he flees to a commercial district and goes to the shoe store that has the kind of windows where you can walk towards the front door with your plate glass leading to the doors where you can look at issues and he hears the sirens and turns his back to the street and he tends to be looking at shoes. a shoe store manager for ibm's that behavior to be odd so he
decides i'm going to follow this guy. he follows him to a movie theater and he watches all small the sneak into the theater without paying for a ticket. >> crime if i ever heard one. >> so he goes in and the police are summoned and they arrived. they are becoming because a policeman has been murdered, not because they converge on him in the theater. he reaches for his pistol and he says this is it. she was going to shoot more people with the police man overpowered him, beat him up a little, seized the let them and they take him out and the winder and the complainer he always has been says i complained about this police brutality and he's put in the car and driven into the police headquarters. >> air force one now the air force base johnson speaks to the
country as the casket comes down and jackie kennedy got into the front seat of the ambulance that had her husband's casket and a body and they came through the gate that was fairly near and i saw the look on her face. i don't pretend to have seen her address or anything like that. >> you saw something else to which i think is the most shocking thing that had ever been on television. of course it began before the photograph that was taken when she was standing next to lyndon johnson and the women went back to her chamber and said why don't you change or close it was all over. and jackie said know i want them to see what they've done. then she said before i went out to pose for the photograph i did something. i shouldn't have done it. she said i looked at myself in
the mirror and his blood and brains was all over me and my face. i took the tissue and wiped it off. she said i shouldn't have done that. so she wears this the whole way and then this is what is seen when the plane lands at the air force base. the door opens and you see the coffin coming and you see her standing there and she is covered with blood. look at the photographs. it's everywhere. she says i want the people to see this. >> we were behind the fence but i could see that. didn't quite understand what i was seeing. now, technically, they had no right to remove his body before the autopsy in dallas. islamic that is one of the worst decisions made. it's led to 50 years of conspiracy thinking and speculation and doubt that by the texas law a murder victim must have an autopsy as a location of the crime.
it was unlawful for the secret service to remove from the hospital without an autopsy and other local officials demand that they let the autopsy had been. the secret service said we are taking him home mrs. kennedy isn't going to refer you to do an autopsy. the police were called and it in the local authorities and the secret service agents who are now furious they are furious their boss has been killed and that they didn't stop it and they are in no mood to let the texas officials keep the president's body. so the role the coffin right through this group of local officials and put it in the hearse and drive to air force one and it's only then the texas autopsy had occurred that we might have been scared 50 years of conspiracy theory. they even argue that the doctors at bethesda naval hospital were traders who did a fraudulent autopsy to conceal the conspiracy to call the president until the plane landed most
people couldn't know where the president was coming. jackie decided on bethesda. under the theory they would have had the doctors working at walter reed and bethesda and half the hospitals in washington of the very medical officers that cared for the president would conspire to conceal the role. it is an absurd and if only that had occurred in dallas i think that a lot of these would have never began. >> oliver stone is a great movie maker. he did a movie called jfk and young people if they didn't have a background and perhaps even lyndon johnson were involved in the joint chiefs of staff what
have you. i interviewed him about that and as a part of the conspiracy he said i made a dozen calls on the united states senate gathering. one to the white house. we had the majority leader said i'm not going to talk until we have this confirmed so i called the man and he was an agent in the white house. the research it pretty carefully and said c.a.r. jackie kennedy is what, 33? 34. we don't have a plan when he died and thank goodness we are not talking about an assassination. everything was choreographed to and the guests were a list. she had to make it up and model what abraham lincoln.
>> certainly the kennedy assassination was i think the worst thing in american life since the murder of abraham lincoln years earlier. and jackie wanted to be made. she wanted the president to fly in his casket in revco's in the white house, close coffin and lincoln was open to the the million people saw his body. 100 fils and children but jackie decided that it didn't look like him anymore. you couldn't tell what had happened to him. his face was cricket after the assassination and damaged, but she was appalled and she said no just keep it closed. the marines were called in the middle of the night and they marched on to the white house ground. he was taken in the procession to the capitol in the artillery taken across to pennsylvania
avenue. one interesting thing that jackie did for him, she really never left him alone from the time that he was killed. she rode with him in the car to parkland and she was at the emergency room table when he was treated and rode with him on the air force one on the ride back except when the post in the photograph of lyndon johnson they sat next to the coffin on the trip back. she went with him to bethesda naval hospital from 7:00 at night until 4:30 in the morning she finally took him home to the white house in the autopsy and the embalming. she couldn't believe what happened. she said to her mother can you believe? it was just a silly little comment. he didn't even have the pleasure of dying for civil rights or something important. she slept for a couple of hours. she had to. then she takes off that suit. she had a private religious
ceremony, she accompanied him on the way back it was a tribute to him she was going to stay with him and tell she took him to the grave to it >> weigel she was planning of this at the capitol and alice they were trying to interrogate lee harvey austal and with all due respect to the people that were no longer hear it turned out to look like the keystone. how could the most wanted man for this assassination be shuffled through the hallways and conferences here and there, why was that? >> all small was in the police custody for today's for 12 to 15 hours not tape recorded or transcribed but through the various pieces of the testimony we know what was said.
he was allowed to give little press conferences. i complained of the police brutality. he said he complained that his fundamental human rights were being violated because he wasn't about to take a shower yet. the reporters said did you shoot the president and oswald gave a crazy interview three months before when he was arrested for handing out cash. you get a verbal tic where if he was asked a question he didn't want to answer he was each paid by singing because this didn't happen this can't be true. i didn't renounce my citizenship. what happened as he tried to but he didn't do it successfully.
if we were accused of that we would say i didn't shoot anybody. they said no on have not been charged with that and in fact i do not know why i am here except i have been accused of shooting a policeman. he wanted to be. and so bill legendary homicide detective interrogates all small and they don't realize that this is going to be watched closely. they want to get a concession. that is their objective. they make crazy statements. we think this is him we got the man. the prosecutor says i've gotten all of my convictions except a few. and he says this case is singed during and you are right they
are not protecting him properly. they are humiliated the president has been murdered in dallas. they are worried that dallas will be blamed for this crime as half the nation would do. so the police favor with the press. they want the press to say nice things about the dallas police department and so they give the journalists karkh launch and fell for hallways and the event of a journalist when they are going to bring all oswald down on that fateful morning. >> the journalists as we know at a certain point is going to be brought out and apparently he learned it, too. >> he was in the police station several times before, and
essentially a temp like character. the police fought the woodring sandwiches to the late shift or to the radio station. always handing out free passes to the strip clubs telling the girls to be nice to the cops. the caldecott escorting him if someone tried to shoot you why want you down on the ground. he says no one is going to shoot me and the cop says if somebody does, i hope they are as good a shot as you were. so they miss me and they get you. the policemen were in that basement. other journalists were there. here comes john alt now -- and john oswald now. he carries money from the club and he just across the street wearing some cash.
he said he saw oswald smirk and you knew that face that he always had. he said youth son of a bitch come he gets the perfect shot and you can hear oswald incomplete edni. the police tackled him and he says tecum veazey. it's me, jeff ruby. half of the police in the basement recognize him to and why did you do it, one policeman saw him before he this shot and he said don't, but it was too late. so they said i had to do it. somebody had to. you weren't going to. >> when i talk to people who believed there was a conspiracy, the one thing that they pointed to the was difficult to answer is they did have some connections.
it was maybe jimmy hoffa that said to cut off the head because why would jack ruby to make cracks he said he feared that mrs. kennedy would have to testify at the trial of oswald. robie was a distraught and emotional state all weekend. the assassination put him in an incredible state of depression. but it hit him hard. everyone who knew him and talked to him that week said they were shocked how overcome he was at the assassination of the president and seems an emotional number spiral to the key was a very strange man. he took the dog everywhere with him and the dog was in his car.
he also was very angry at the man that took the welcome mat of the paper was named bernard, ruby was jewish and he was furious and said how their him run an ad like that and he said aha have a show that there were some in dallas triet >> we have microphones here and time for a few questions but i want to sum up one more aspect of this. there is so much we can talk about. the funeral is over and wojacki dedicated herself to making certain that this event in her husband's place in history was going to be seen as a wonderful. tell the story about camelot. >> this will send a word that described the kennedy administration why what was
unfolding. you didn't think there was a camelot and you never heard that phrase assassination. so a week after the merger, she's in the port and spend thanksgiving there obviously the saddest one of her life. she decides i want to do something. she calls the pulitzer prize-winning author she tells you want you to send something to the american people that only you can do it. and there is a hurricane coming to new england. shia rise and is there with the son of franklin roosevelt and she tells everyone leave me
alone. he's already scribbling in his notebook beautiful. he is mesmerized by her and for the next three and a half hours she tells him everything. that is where we know that line about why should have left the blood on my face. why did i wake of? she tells him everything. he is desperately making the notes. then she says but really there is something i want to say. i've got to say this because people are writing things about my husband already. i want them to know something. at night we left listen to the recordings of the broadway musical about life in king arthur's court and she says for one moment there was a spot known as camelot from one brief
shining moment camelot and she says that is how it was and will never be that way again. she emphasizes that and says the others will be great, but there will never be another camelot and she hits it over and over again. the press is open and $30,000 an hour to run a story based on an interview that hasn't finished yet all the stories that hasn't been written yet. they go up to one of the bedrooms and he types the story and brings it down and this is when he sheds his journalistic hat. >> which he acknowledged. >> he allowed her to read the story and edit the corrections and then they called the editors and she gives a short story to the last two pages of the magazine and as he is reading
the story she hears the editors say there's too much of that stuff. you are hitting that too hard. she hears it and she shakes her head and says know you aren't going to cut any of that. the editors in new york are drawn to this and they asked him over the phone is she listening to this right now and he lets them know she is. well, the story runs december 6, 1963 on life magazine and it's called from john f. kennedy and epilogue and single-handedly one week after her husband's murder jackie kennedy created the most powerful lift in american political history. it was a stroke of the cross manipulation and presentation. and white was torn about this
and says i was serving a widow. i felt she deserved it. it was improper. i shouldn't have done it but then he writes in a memoir leader when i left her that night in the driving range i was on familiar ground and i didn't know it and america didn't know it but i passed through an invisible membrane of time and nothing would be the same again. is it a fantasy or because tens of millions of people believe it today does that make it true because it is believed? >> it might make it true for people that are there but you a great historian know that they will write another book and this time it would be the fact on the standpoint of pluses and minuses, good things, bad things, good conduct, that
conduct. ladies and gentlemen i can't see, so who has the microphone, help me out. do we have someone that wants to ask a question? by the way we are going to run a little longer but if you have a dinner date or something we got started late. please. we will excuse you otherwise we would like to run just a little longer. >> i promised my friend that i would ask you this question with triet she is a conspiracy theorist who apparently there is a show on cable about the assassination and the there was something about the press team bullet that came from a different gun. >> one thing i did in writing this book i had to make myself
extra in the theory. i was familiar enough with them already to be high on every important book on the conspiracy theory and i studied every book every pamphlet, every pherae there is so i could be well versed to know what they are to be held to discuss them. the global it came from his rifle and isn't pristine. everywhere people less about the magic bullet. look at that as it is photographed from the side and you will see it has been flat by the impact there is damage to the nose of the bullet and as we advance more scientifically we know a lot more than the commission ever knew we and we know more facts but to this day no one has this proven the finding that made many mistakes and wasn't perfect but the central finding was that was lee harvey oswald. he is the murder of the president and no evidence could be found that austal was part of
the conspiracy. it hasn't been proven otherwise. >> it is the same finger. in 75 it was an assassination by the house committee and they pull together 20 of them in that country and the work with the police and all of that. 19 of them said it's the back shot as they explain the body that reacts in a way that makes it look like it was the body reacting. estimate of the committee on the assassination put a lot of credence into a tape recording that was allegedly taped recording accidentally by the
police motorcycle capturing the shot. it's been proven absolutely conclusively that it was made about ten minutes after the assassination and didn't record the moment kennedy was shot and had been completely discredited so there is no sound recording that proves. >> and the conspirators changed that tape didn't they? >> something you can comment on can you explain more about the journalistic coverage was like at that point because my understanding is it was able to capture a round-the-clock television coverage which at this point there is a convergence and this boosted the television coverage. >> i was watching the senate and kennedy was in the presiding officers chair and they were rushed forward.
but i will tell you that people who are in the car in the presidential parade occupied and as you say they knew what it was there was only one phone in the car. at that time the associated press was the dominant that it is today that held a news organizations of its kind he kept the phone and learned many things. and that maybe i didn't get the whole question. >> they didn't have 100 channels walter cronkite put himself in history certainly on the story.
cbs is the first on the air with a limited on the slide fais and after a few minutes the cameras warmed up. dan rather who was a young reporter on the scene but didn't say that until dallas and the announced officially the assistant press secretary. the press secretary was on a plan in the pacific with a secretary of the state and others going on a trip and they were on their way back and remember the video. president kennedy died at 1 p.m. and he took off his glasses and here's the thing. forgive me for the editorial comment to be a i want to hear more from you.
he couldn't cry for various reasons but one of the main ones is that it was in his job. it is to report the news as terrible as this was without any names i have seen reporters today maybe they have a right. the feel for people and that's fine. until that to you. and to this question because you know as much as i do. >> it was the first historical even in america that unified the country it was a pioneering moment through their radio and television at the saturday
evening post and agreed weekly magazines. the american people read the same stories and saw the same coverage and video and films together. it was more of a communal moment because they were limited. of the three networks. the people experienced the story in the same way, in a way that i don't think experience the same way. it was compartmentalized. there were so many channels at ways of getting the news has a 24 hour news cycle to be the devotees and unified in a way that i don't think could ever be done again. >> it was before the fragmentation began to eat into the major networks. >> the detail i am sure is a book that you heard of from the secret service agents that were there when president kennedy was assassinated. one of the chapters talks about an episode that might where
lyndon johnson was almost shot by a secret service agent who was an intruder at his house and i haven't heard that story anywhere else but was reported in the news the mabey commentary on it so i wondered if you could speak to that to be and i believe it was a kennedy detail written by the secret service agent that was there. the secret service and law enforcement officials were on the razor's edge that might because no one knew why jfk had been killed, what had happened, what could happen. like the lincoln assassination. that night that he was shocked was also to have secretary of state seward murder and vice president of the united states andrew johnson. so it wasn't unprecedented and it wasn't unparalleled for the secret service to think the killing might not be the end of
it because they had a historic example of what happened here and throughout washington. i haven't heard. yes, ma'am and let's make this a question. >> i'm wondering and trying to remember the name of the book i read a number of them. you mentioned that lee harvey oswald got the job at the repository six weeks before so he couldn't have known that president kennedy would be down there but a lot of other people could have known and they could have assumed that he would have the campaign one of the books to read that thing a person who helped someone appeared on the washington area that helps lee harvey austal get the job at the
book had an association with the cia. >> it is complete and utterly false. one of the women in that works at the cia it was uncovered. she also took the marina back. >> there are some who argue with that they were a cia operative and i want to say something about the take away. i want to get your take on something. for the 50th anniversary stories
of brassy knowles, but that theory is oswald lead to the soviet union and was in the same that came back and some house mother, brother and other people didn't realize it wasn't their brother and son anymore naval intelligence fbi and secret service and the doctors argued that the murdered policemen who was murdered by oswald was part of the fury and there was no end to it. the only way to think about the story is to begin with what is known. it's impossible to review some of these. how can you refused something didn't happen. the best way to think about the assassination is to begin with the known facts. where did he get it and try to kill the general and what did his wife know and what did the
ballistics say look at the three men on the window and what do they hear. if you don't start with the known facts you will go down this path of conspiracy mania. they believe they've long has been done and they think that they have special ways of solving it but i think it is important for the anniversary to put that aside and think about what happened. the wife lost her husband, two children lost their father, the nation lost their president and the conspiracy stories have a way of taking away from who john kennedy was, what he lost that day, whom he was and would have been and what else he might have done for america if he had left. it is almost obscene to forget him as the central character in the story.
and remember the year after the assassination she gave a tribute to him and said he believed he wanted to live the easiest life possible you should be a disservice to the country and wojacki said this is what he stood for, the proposition that one man can make a difference and every man should try so i'm just curious since the experience of the story and reported on it and knew the principles involved what is the take away 50 years later what did it mean and what should we think about it today? >> it depends on whether you were alive and felt it at that time. there was an enjoyable time particularly for young people without needing to be partisan at all i told young people that voted for barack obama and 20 elite without taking in a side of whether that was wise or not, the young man, - looking family,
a vibrant and all of that. we still had temporary units from the navy department on the mall from world war ii speed cars and the headquarters were at the base of capitol hill. it was a building what have you but it was a time you couldn't help but be caught up in the mystique. there was no camelot as you say coming in years later those of us that our reporters we didn't see them i didn't know that as elma says the last time i saw him was on the 11th of november he'd gone to arlington at the tomb of the unknown and walked down a gravel path with his young son hand in hand both smiling and happy.
balloon -- grounds north of there. and a friend of mine in subsequent years, i didn't know him then. don west, who went on to become the executive editor of broadcasting magazine. he's now retired. was set out by the newspaper to take a picture of the weather balloon and wrote a three-lines in the story. and the paper. nothing was heard about the story until 1990. it happened in 1947. someone wrote a book called "the rose well incident." a spaceship crashed. little people, that looked like us in green. their bodies were recovered. but the u.s. government fearful of the consequences of acknowledging there were some forces outside this planet of ours. covered it up. put the bodies in hangar. hundreds of people would have had to be involved in the conspiracy. not one has ever shown up with
any evidence since. but if you go rose well today, i love the town. and you say this is a bunch of -- the city fathers will run you out of town on the rail. they're making money. they're building a museum. aliens every year. come to celebrate! [laughter] well, this isn't funny of course, about the kennedy assassination. i have to put it in the same category. as a reporter say to people what other facts and be developed? what is the known. you can't prove the negative. don't tell me why it could have been this. it could have been been but there's no evidence. there's no evidence. you have to go with what you know. >> james, one final question, and i'm going let you go. you've had a busy day. another what if not but what if the assassination was acemented. you know where i was going. if john kennedy would have lived he probably would have been re-elected. >> he would have been. >> he would have been.
what changed for the country? >> who knows. the big question he had 18,000 in vietnam. would he have accept the 5,000. >> he said not. >> jfk's ghost haunted lbj. he wanted to be like him and carry-on the aids. he was haunted that bobby kennedy would one day challenge him. who know, certainly in a walter cronkite interview, jfk implied when he said it's their war ultimately their voice will have to win it. he was suspicious of martin luther king's speech and tushed con the chance to come to lincoln memorial. here is how thicks would have
been different. not just the policy civil right or this way or that way. the america of 1968 and 1969 that came to be would have been unrecognizable and horrifying to john kennedy. the late 1960s were nothing like the early 1960s. his death created a kind of cynicism and sadness and darkness in american life. many people blame themselves for the assassination of kennedy. you remember the talk. e killed him. what kind of country. we didn't kill john kennedy. lee harvey oswald killed him. the good people of the country didn't kill him. he was the murder, oswald. but doubt came in to america after the death of ceb i -- kennedy. there was evidence, civil unrest. race riot, murder of martin
luther king, murder helter-skelter. we lost our confidence in optimism. jfk was a hugely optimistic man. he believed in american greatness and exceptionalism. he loved our history and national story. something went awry. we didn't believe them the way he believed them. >> with that, ladies and gentlemen, "the end of days: assassination of john f. kennedy." thank you. [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations]